Although evaluation of absorbable surgical suture material with reference to the duration of tensile strength in the tissues can best be done by experiments with animals and human beings, valuable information can be obtained by enzyme studies in vitro. This has been demonstrated by Kraissl and Meleney (1934)1 and Kraissl ( 1936),2 who used trypsin, and by Claudius (1912)3 and Jenkins and Hrdina (1942).4 who employed pepsin. Such studies have demonstrated, at least in a qualitative manner, that the maintenance of tensile strength of the suture in the tissues can be correlated roughly with the digestion time of the fiber in enzymes. Since the publication of these studies, several manufacturers of surgical gut (catgut) have used this criterion as one of the methods for evaluating their product.
In view of the general usefulness of an enzymic method of testing surgical gut, a simple apparatus for carrying out